In 1989, Msgr. Elio Sgreccia, at the time Spiritual Assistant of the Faculty of Medicine of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, began gathering around him students who wished to discuss the crucial issues of the defense of human life, the boundary between science and morals, the relationship between ethics and medicine, and the mystery of suffering and death: realities that these future doctors were going to encounter every day and that called for meaningful responses.
This led to the creation of the first association, Donum Vitae, intended to act, train and teach to promote and value the gift of life, measuring of all things on the basis of the centrality and full development of the human person.
After years of serving in leading institutional and academic positions (first professor of Bioethics in Italy, founder of the Institute of Bioethics, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and others) and having become the main reference point for ethics and life of both the Holy See and internationally, in 2004, he decided to support the association’s work by creating a the foundation "Ut Vitam Habeant" (reference to John 10:10 "that they may have life"), and so make an even stronger contribution to the structured development of the culture and ministry of Life called for by John Paul II in his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae.
Today these two realities, united in their intent and charisma, continue their work by organizing conferences, and offering formation courses and publications; they also fund scientific research, while raising awareness about urgencies of our time and for the protection of the joy of the gift of life, received and lived to the fullest in all its multifaceted beauty.